Asper NOT buying Gades because story leaked***

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David Asper says he is not the Ottawa Renegades' white knight. He may, however, be the troubled Canadian Football League club's safety net.

Asper, the vice-president of CanWest Global Communications Corp., which owns the Citizen, and the chairman of National Post, admitted yesterday he explored purchasing the Renegades this week. Asper met with CFL commissioner Tom Wright and league governors, but said he is no longer pursuing the team.

"I analysed the situation and did a lot of thinking about it. I believe Ottawa is a great CFL market and what is happening there concerns me," he said from Toronto last night. "In light of the fact that there didn't appear to be anybody stepping up, I considered if there was some role I could play. Since then, certain circumstances arose, and now I am not involved.

"As you know, I am a huge CFL supporter and a believer that Ottawa should, and must, have a team," he continued. "I wish all the people involved the best of success."

The Renegades are projected to lose between $4 million and $6 million this season and owners Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith have indicated they will not foot the entire bill. The league has set a soft deadline of April 6 to either sell the franchise or proceed with a dispersal draft of Renegades players.

This marks the second time in as many years that Asper has eyed the Renegades. He met with the team's former ownership group and Wright last February, expressing his concern with the directionless state of the franchise.

Yesterday, Asper refused to close the door on an emergency bail-out should the team not be sold in the next week.

In Canadian Football League barstool conversations, it is often noted that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' financial health would be an ongoing worry if not for the presence of the Asper family.

David Asper's basement is decorated in blue and gold and he tried to buy his hometown team in 1999 when two levels of Manitoba government stepped in with emergency assistance.

Asked if he would serve as the Renegades' safety net, Asper replied: "I've asked (the league) how I can help and I continue to standby. That is what happened last year, and that is what happened this year. I will never say 'never,' but I think it is highly, highly, highly, highly unlikely."

Meanwhile, another group taking an interest in the Renegades was brought to the table by Toronto Argonauts co-owner Howard Sokolowski, who did not return a call from the Citizen yesterday.

The Ontario-based group is believed to have a connection to Sokolowski's building company, Tribute Communities, and could also have ties in Ottawa-Gatineau.

While some CFL teams believe the Renegades could suspend operations in 2006 and be revived shortly thereafter, the Argonauts are not one of them. Sokolowski and partner David Cynamon are said to be working feverishly to help put a new owner in place.

you'd think a guy who owns as much media outlets as asper would be less critical of a leak to the media?...and altho he said he might buy the Gades last minute, it seems to me hes holding out for the day the Bluebombers go on sale!

heres what the Ti-cat Owner had to say about this:

QUOTE:Unfortunately this is very bad news.

If we (as a league) cannot protect the privacy of people and organizations who are simply inquiring about the possibility of buying the Renegades, think what sort of impression that leaves with these prospective partners of ours.

This is the kind of league "news leak" that has damaged the league materially time and again. It is sad to see it continue and now possibly scare off prospective buyers. Sigh.

[url=] ... 2-sun.html[/url]

SUDDENLY, the Ottawa Renegades are a hot CFL property.

What a difference a week makes.

Just nine days ago, the franchise appeared all but dead when Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced he wouldn't buy the team, extinguishing the last hope for the league to survive in this city.

But now it appears at least seven individuals or groups have contacted the CFL about buying the team and saving it from oblivion -- including an inquiry from a local group.

That's the good news, but there's also a down side. Several of the interested parties aren't in the game to keep the team in Ottawa.

In all of this, a new hero appears to be emerging for CFL fans in this city -- Tom Wright, the CFL commissioner.

Sources say Wright is insisting the buyer of the Renegades must keep the team in the nation's capital.

As usual in the CFL, the commissioner's stance is being met with opposition. It's believed some governors are leery about the league's future prospects in Ottawa, and wonder if a move to Quebec City, Halifax or Windsor would be in the CFL's best interest. Moncton, N.B., has also been considered as a potential site for a franchise.


It's also believed Wright is trying to have a team on the field at Frank Clair Stadium in 2006.

Some governors aren't in the same kind of rush to find an owner in such a short time frame, and would prefer the team take a year hiatus -- perhaps two -- before returning to the fold under stable ownership.

Earlier this week, Calgary businessman Bruce Urban announced his interest in buying the team after being convinced by Wright that the 'Gades can survive in Ottawa.

That view was a complete turnaround in his opinion of the Ottawa market last week, in which he stated buying the team and keeping it in the capital would be "suicide."

Urban plans to arrive in the city early next week to take a look at the team's facilities at Lansdowne Park and get a better understanding of the public's feeling toward the Renegades and the CFL.

Six other groups are vying for the franchise. There's another bid from Calgary, two more believed to be coming from this province, another from a group of investors in Florida with Canadian roots, and interest from Quebec City.

The Quebec bid wants to move the franchise there, but Wright is making good on a pledge made earlier this month in which he said the CFL was committed to building a 10-team league from the current nine, with one of those franchises being located in Ottawa.


Also of note is an inquiry made by an Ottawa group, who sources say is headed up by Po Krepski, owner of an Ottawa mortgage brokerage.

Meanwhile, it's believed the league or CFL governors have approached CanWest Global executive vice-president David Asper. But on Wednesday, Asper told the Winnipeg Sun he was not interested in Renegades ownership.

Asper also said the same thing last week during a radio interview in Winnipeg.

The former chairman of the community-owned Winnipeg Blue Bombers was rumoured to have interest in the club last year when the league was seeking an owner, before Bernie Glieberman took majority control of the club last May.

Wright announced on March 22 that Glieberman and minority owner Bill Smith had agreed to allow the league to find new owners of the team, expected to lose at least $3 million if the team plays during the 2006 season.

The day before, the league's board of governors had rejected a Glieberman offer to partially fund those losses through the season if the league and the other eight teams helped pay the bills.

Wright and league board members David Braley and Tom Robinson are on a search committee to find the new owner.

I'll be glad when the dust clears on this, one way or the other. Its too bad David Asper wasn't interested. :frowning:

I don't think that the media leak is what caused him "not to be involved". I wonder if it's not because there are other serious bidders, and as a fan of the Bombers first and foremost, he decided to let the other groups take a crack at it first.

David should be the owner of the Bombers and the owner of the Jets along with Mike Clipmen (sp?), current owner of the Manitoba Moose.

I don't really know how to feel right now. It seems every other day someone else claims to be interested...and every other day someone says they've changed their mind.

I'm reminded of before Bob Young bought the Ticats, there was a lot of media speculation about who the new owner was going to be. Names were kicked around, all sorts of speculation, some really big names, some not so big...then all of a sudden, it's Bob Young, whose name hadn't come up once. That was done so well, and it was all choreographed by David Braley...who, coincidentally, is on the committee to find a new owner for the Renegades.

Could it be that all these names that are being batted around are for the benefit of the media, trying to pique interest in the club the way the "Mr. X" thing did in Hamilton? Could it be that they've already selected an owner, and they're just working out all the details before announcing it? I hope so. The uncertainty is driving me crazy.

Asper just recently bought a home around Toronto.......those people at the Sun probably got their facts a little mixed up again......:slight_smile:

:lol: Wouldn't be the first time. :lol: